BMW’s new Startup Garage seeks innovative startups

BMW Startup Garage offers potential assistance to young tech companies

  • What will the startups aim to provide for BMW?
  • Will this help the brand connect with consumers?
  • Is this a new trend in the auto industry?

“In my opinion . . .”

What are the advantages of working with startups? The advantage is simple: BMW offers its resources and guidance for a ground floor equity share in the development of a potential breakthrough technology, which taken to its successful fruition can yield a large return on investment. On a global level, there is also a huge reserve of investment capital looking for places to invest.

Why are we seeing an increase in startup ventures lately? There is an increase in startup ventures because there are now millions of brilliant minds around the globe simultaneously contributing to the evolution of technology and how it integrates and affects our daily lives.

 The market place is very fluid and consumer demands and expectations are increasing. Late last year, BMW announced that it would be making plug-in hybrid versions of all of its core models. Now, just a few months later, BMW North America CEO Ludwig Willisch announced that the company’s enhanced hybrid plan is going to be applied to every new model.

At the same time, the company admits that it does not have a model that competes directly with Tesla—at least yet, that is. No doubt if they could, they would. Even though they say Tesla versus BMW is not an apples-to-apples comparison, BMW knows it must innovate quickly to stay competitive and relevant to consumer wants and needs.

Technology is fast becoming an integral part of our motoring lives with promises of better, safer, and more efficient driving experiences for everyone, anywhere. For example, Google just made history in the automotive arena itself with its autonomous car that just recently completed a 3400 mile cross-country drive. Such is the fast pace of technology today and underscores the great leaps technology is making in short order.

Such technology requires investment of time and resources. BMW is trying to find the most innovative, tested and proven ideas to keep the company relevant and competitive in this fast changing market place. To do this, the company needs solutions that are fresh and new, and not entrenched in big company bureaucracy and internal politics and policies. This is why so much innovation comes straight out of the world’s universities where there is a culture of ongoing innovation and creativity.

Are there any potential disadvantages? As any venture capital enterprise, BMW wants to minimize its risk by not simply seeking great ideas, which take time to develop and are often susceptible to failure and unforeseen consequences. Instead BMW wants to entertain new innovations that are backed by a sharp management team. Once accepted by BMW Startup Garage, the BMW assists in building the mockups and prototypes, and helps the startup team in developing a business plan. This reduces the risk of failure and the time to market is lessened.

Is this a trend in the auto industry? It’s a trend, in all tech sectors, period. As the company stated, BMW is not seeking technology that is exclusively automotive-centric but seeks technologies that can be transferred to automotive engineering applications. For instance, there is a global need to find more range per electrical charge. There is also a continual need to improve integration of mobile device and machine.

Change is now a daily occurance. What an amazing time we live in.

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